Dahdaleh Institute for Global Health Research at York University in Toronto launches new data analytics technology to improve access to safe water in refugee camps

LONDONDec. 2, 2020 — Researchers at York University’s Dahdaleh Institute for Global Health Research, in partnership with Médecins sans Frontières (MSF/Doctors Without Borders), have launched the Safe Water Optimization Tool (SWOT), the first concrete application of artificial intelligence for improving safe water supply in humanitarian operations.

SWOT is a new web-based tool to help aid workers ensure water is safe to drink in refugee and internally displaced persons (IDP) camps. The tool is currently being used in camps in NigeriaBangladesh, and Tanzania.

‘What this tool does is it enables us to use the local data to figure out how we need to treat the water so it is safe in those local conditions.  It’s a complete game-changer in that respect.  We’re getting site-specific, evidence-based recommendations for water treatment rather than a universal guideline based on no field evidence,’ says Syed Imran Ali, founder and lead, SWOT.

Waterborne diseases such as cholera, dysentery and hepatitis E are some of the leading threats facing displaced populations and are among the leading causes of preventable death in refugee camps. Researchers say at a time when countries are fighting a world-wide pandemic like COVID-19, tools like this can prevent further healthcare crises.

SWOT builds on more than five years of water safety research carried out in refugee camps in South SudanJordanRwandaTanzania, and Bangladesh. Researchers from York University’s Lassonde School of Engineering, Department of Mathematics and Statistics, and School of Global Health all collaborated on the tool.

James Orbinski, inaugural Director of York University’s Dahdaleh Institute for Global Health Research said: ‘One of the key and often forgotten and most effective interventions in terms of reducing the risk of spread of COVID, is water, sanitation, and hygiene.

‘In the North, we talk about personal protective equipment and hand washing. We assume that the water itself isn’t contaminated and we’re using water to remove contaminants from our hands. In situations like refugee camps and internally displaced persons settings, if you’re asking people to use water that itself is contaminated you could be spreading, through that contaminated water, infectious diseases. So, what this tool does is it provides a very clear approach to maximizing or optimizing safe water.’

The Dahdaleh Institute for Global Health Research, home to the highest calibre of global health research with real-world impact, was founded in 2015 at York through an endowment from the Victor Phillip Dahdaleh Foundation. The donation is the largest by an alumnus in the university’s history.

For more detailed information on the SWOT tool visit the York University website here

For more information on the Victor Dahdaleh Foundation visit its website here or contact Matthew Moth on: matthew.moth@madano.com or on mobile: +44 (0) 7770 381 263.

02/12/2020

LATEST NEWS

The Future of Medicine: establishing a new genomic institute


McGill University recently published an interview with Victor Dahdaleh about his C$30million of philanthropic support to establish a new institute to help transform genomic medicine. Read more here about Victor’s motivations and aspirations for the new Victor Phillip Dahdaleh Institute of Genomic Medicine.  Read more here: https://giving.mcgill.ca/all-stories/future-medicine-mcgills-new-genomic-medicine-institute-promises-transform-healthcare

19/01/2023

McGill University receives landmark donation from alumnus Victor Phillip Dahdaleh to create new Institute of Genomic Medicine


A landmark donation to support McGill University’s renowned genomics research and education programs from UK-based alumnus and long-time donor Victor Dahdaleh will be a catalyst for advancements in genomics research. Thanks to gifts from Mr. Dahdaleh totalling more than $30 million, McGill will launch the Victor Phillip Dahdaleh Institute of Genomic Medicine. For more details see […]

25/10/2022

The Victor Dahdaleh Foundation to support University facilities, selected programming with $4M gift


The gift will support upgrades to the Victor Phillip Dahdaleh Building on York University’s Keele Campus, provide operating funding to CIFAL York and support a new operations facility for the Advanced Disaster, Emergency and Rapid Response Simulation initiative. York was honoured to welcome alumnus and philanthropist Victor Dahdaleh and his wife Mona to campus to celebrate the Victor Dahdaleh Foundation’s new $4-million gift to […]

25/10/2022